Tulsa Red Cross volunteers ready to help Texas storm victims


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Updated: 5/16/2013 5:35 pm Published: 5/16/2013 4:54 pm


Forecasters say 10 tornadoes hit north Texas on Wednesday night.

Six people were killed, and widespread damage has been reported.

FOX23's Ian Silver spoke to volunteers with the Tulsa Red Cross who are on standby to go help victims with recovery efforts.

Red Cross officials and volunteers expect to be called at some point, they just don't know when.

"They're still figuring out what kinds of volunteers they're going to need. Given our proximity, I would guess that we would be asked to send some teams. But that really remains to be seen," said Red Cross official Donita Quesnell.

"There's also mental health services that are offered and health services that are offered. So it really just depends. It runs the gamut," she said.

The Eastern Oklahoma chapter of the Red Cross can offer it all.

"Most of them are very experienced. They've been to these kinds of disaster scenes before. So they know what to expect," said Quesnell.

That's why they're called upon more than Red Cross volunteers from most other regions.

"We do still have some volunteers who are deployed elsewhere. I know we have volunteers who have been to Chicago to help with the flooding there. We even have a volunteer who just recently returned from the East Coast after a two-month deployment to helping after (Hurricane) Sandy," she said.

And with all of the tornadoes, ice storms and wildfires across disaster-prone Oklahoma, volunteers get plenty of practice at home.

"They have had a lot of opportunities to work with people who have been through disasters, and they really have a good sense of how to go into those situations and how to work with people in the most effective and compassionate way," she said.

As soon as officials get the call, they will start reaching out to volunteers to see who is available and should be able to have their team on the ground in Granbury, Texas, in less than 24 hours.


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